Love & Sex

Talking to Strangers: Austin, TX

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Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we just met.


Leda, 24

What's your job?
I am a waitress. 

Do you ever date people you meet at work?
I have in the past, but not at my current job, no. I used to pick up dudes at my other job.  

Is it a good way to meet guys?
Not necessarily, because if they really like coming into the place where you work, and it doesn't work out, you have to face the awkwardness of seeing them while you're working, and having to talk to them.

How would you describe dating in Austin?
There are some people who just do one-night stands. There are also people who really love long-term relationships. I know some people who have been together for five, six years, and they don't even think about talking about marriage. They just know that they're still going to be together for however long they're going to be. Especially among young people, it's very varied.  

What's your type?
I like a lot of different kinds of looks. I like the punk-rock look. I love the indie look. I'm kind of a sucker for nerds with glasses who read books by themselves in restaurants and stuff. But I also kind of like really wild-looking guys, who look like they maybe ride a motorcycle, and drink whiskey, and like to get in fights, and stuff like that. 

What about girls?
I used to date girls. Not a lot. I dated a couple. I mostly date guys. With girls, uh…

Higher maintenance?
Yeah, there was that. At the time I was also really inexperienced in that realm of having sex with girls, so I was pretty uncomfortable, and I felt really bad about myself, just as a lover, so that's kind of why I went astray from that. And also what was missing for me was the obvious. 


Your friend said you were a "ho."
Oh, wow. Well, she's a ho, too. I guess maybe she might be right. I don't ever claim that I'm just the perfect little chaste girl. I date a lot of guys. 

How many is a lot?
I don't have a number.  

Tell me a crazy hookup story.
I hooked up with the bassist from The Vibrators. I thought that was pretty cool. My friends and I went to this show, and they were really drunk, and I wasn't that drunk yet, and the bassist had kind of been making eyes at me all night. They ditched me, and he was like, "What are you doing? Why are you sitting all by yourself?" I said, "Oh, my friends ditched me." He was like, "Well, you're in luck, 'cause now you get to hang out with me." It was amazing. He was just… experienced, I suppose.  

What're you like in bed? 
I sort of like being in control. I like when he seems to be really into it, and really excited, and that just kind of makes me really happy as a person. Sometimes it doesn't even matter if I'm getting anything out of it. Just as long as they're, like, going crazy.  



Scott, 43

What do you do for a living? 
I'm a river guide in Idaho and Montana, and I'm also a vintage-clothing-store owner. 

How's dating in Austin?
The dating scene in Austin is pretty good, when you're dating. There are a lot of beautiful women in Austin. Whether they're my type, I'm not sure.

What is your type?
Naturally beautiful. No makeup. Can take care of herself. Stands on her own two feet. Enjoys life. Is fun. Exciting. 

You like hippie chicks?
I like girls that shave their armpits.

Do you have a method for hitting on women?
Just be myself. If they don't like that, they probably don't like me. Lately, they approach me. Probably because I don't do much approaching anymore, unless I'm severely into that person.  

Do you have any crazy exes?
My ex-wife is bipolar. It was pretty much a rough go.  

Does that make for an exciting sex life, because you're getting two for one?
It's pretty intense. I'm a Scorpio, and she's a Scorpio as well, and it makes for some real good sex, but passion and excitement in the sack doesn't always carry you through to a nice relationship that's healthy.  

Has anyone ever shocked you during sex?
All of a sudden, we're in the heat of passion, and this girl sticks her fingers up my butt, and tells me, you know, I'm gonna love that. It just made me want to go to the bathroom. It kind of killed the deal. 

What about the reverse?
I've done that before.

What's the most out-there place you've ever had sex?
I was in Turkey, on a hill, in a Turkish ruin that was built by Greeks and Romans, and we snuck up there and had sex. It was an amazing view. Really exciting because it was dangerous and mischievous.  

What's the secret to pleasing a woman sexually?
Maybe listen to her a little bit? Actually care for her? Instead of just fucking her?  



Kelly, 26

What do you do for a living?
I'm a hairstylist. 

Do you meet a lot of people you'd want to date doing hair?
No, I do not. Unfortunately. I've dated a couple of my clients, and it hasn't worked out very well. I wish that I could meet more men through the salon, but it doesn't happen that way.  

What's the dating scene like in Austin?
It's… interesting. I'm newly single, so it's a little frustrating. I'm also sober, about two years sober now, so I don't really go out to bars. It's hard to get into the dating scene when you're sober.  

What's your type?
I think personality's a huge thing. They have to have some sense of humor. The more the better. But also be able to be serious. Physically? Fit. I like guys with tattoos a lot. They don't necessarily have to have tattoos on them. One of the boys that I'm dating right now has no tattoos. 

Did you say one of the boys that you are dating?
One of the boys. 

How many boys are you dating right now?
Um, about three boys. 

What's it like to juggle three guys at the same time?
It's pretty difficult. I've almost cross-texted on accident. It's interesting. 

Do you sleep with all of them?
Uh, yes. For the record, yes. 

What's your secret?
Shit. See, I feel like I just fall into it. I don't mean to. I mean it's fun for a little bit, it's exciting, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, because at some point you have to make a decision, and at some point you're going to hurt somebody's feelings, and I don't like that. I'm not huge on dating because I feel like it's a bunch of mini-breakups, and I hate breaking up. Out of the three boys, there's one that I really enjoy having sex with. The other two, I would say, meh. So maybe, like, if I could splice them all together in some sort of way, I'd have the perfect man. 

What's the craziest hookup you've ever had?
Well, there's quite a few. I mean, shit. Craziest? Definitely done three-way, with two guys. This was back when I was drinking, and I was pretty drunk, and I started making out with one guy, and I guess the other guy thought it was pretty hot, so he got in on it, and stuff started happening. Actually, it was more of a blur than anything. There are a lot of crazy sex stories from when I was drunk. 

Has anyone shocked you in the bedroom?
I don't know if anything's really shocking. I'm pretty open to anything. One time, a random hookup, this guy totally slapped me in the face with his penis. It was a huge dick. I couldn't believe that he did it. It was very shocking. But all I could do is laugh.  

What's the craziest place you ever had sex?
I lost my virginity on a trampoline. That was awful. The bouncing was not good for losing your virginity. 

Is there anything you won't do sexually?
No anal. Hell, no. Fuck that. Not into that. Tried it. Don't like it. 

You must have some crazy exes.
Oh, I've had a lot of crazy exes. Well, I'm still married for one, but we haven't been together for about three years now. He's not really crazy; we're actually still really good friends. Recent crazy ex is this guy I was dating for maybe a week. He got really, really too attached. I broke up with him after that happened, and he proceeded to, like, basically stalk me, and since then, I've gotten, like, a huge, giant flat-screen TV, a leather couch, a red leather chair from him. But I manipulated that situation as well.  

You seem like a little bit of a heartbreaker.
You know, I told my twelve-year-old niece, if a boy wants to give you something, material-wise, take it and don't ask questions, because most guys, in my opinion, are kind of stupid.  


Memphis, 21

What do you do for a living? 
I cut hair. 

Is hairstyling a good way to meet girls?
Yeah. I've met a couple girls through this.  

Do you think the girls in Austin are hot?
Oh, yeah, there's definitely, like, beautiful women. I mean, Texas in general, but especially Austin, because there's a diverse demographic. So you have your, like, cute, fake-country chicks, and then you got your, like, hot hippie California girls.  

Do more girls like to do reverse cowgirl in Texas?
I haven't really had sex outside of Texas. All the girls here, they're into it.  

Do you have a type?
As far as looks go, tall, skinny redheads are my favorite thing in the world, but as far as personality and stuff, definitely strong morals. I'm really attracted to Christian women, 'cause that's how I was raised. I'm a firm believer in all that, so that definitely turns me on. I'm very picky about who I sleep with. I don't sleep around too much.  

Do you watch porn?
No. It just kind of grosses me out. See, my whole theory behind women is if you see one naked, you might compare them to whoever I'm going to end up with, or whatever, and I don't want to take that away from her.

Do you masturbate? 
Oh, yeah, all the time. Love it. 

Isn't that a sin?
Yeah, uh, yeah, it is, actually. Every young man's battle — every man's battle. 

Got any crazy Austin hookup stories?
I've had sex in Emo's bathroom. Let's see, in an alleyway, actually. In between 6th and 7th street. On a bench. That was crazy. I've had sex in a doctor's office when I was, like, eighteen.

What's your best pick up line?
"How'd you get the scars on your back? Is it from when He cut off your wings?" Your angel wings? Get it? 

It's not working.
I never used that. That's just the only one I know. 

Do women ever comment on your penis?
I mean, I've gotten, "Oh, you're so big," and stuff like that, but who knows, you know. They could just be saying that to make me feel better, and that's sweet of them.



Susan, 33

What do you do for a living?
I'm a video-store clerk. And I just finished a master's degree.

Do you get hit on a lot? 
There are a lot of older, flirty guys who just like having a chat with a younger woman who actually knows something about film. I get a lot of that sort of thing. People have pointed out that the movie they're renting is about a relationship between an older man and a younger woman, and then given me a kind of eyebrow wiggle.  

Is taste in movies a dealbreaker for you?
Up to a point. I don't think I could date someone who really loved Wes Anderson. I think his movies are so pretentious and so about inviting you to feel cool by liking them, but there's no substance there. The person I'm dating now, we bonded over movies. He invited me to see The Rules of the Game, the Jean Renoir movie. That's one of my favorite films, so that was exciting.  

How are men and women different in bed?
Among the people I had good experiences with, the differences were kind of incidental. Yeah, there are the obvious things. The different junk. But the people I had the best experiences with just felt different from other people. They're just open. 

Has anyone ever surprised you in bed?
I've had annoying things, like the guy who asked if he could come on my face, and I was like, "I'm not feeling it today," and he just did it anyway. I was like, "Did you hear me?" And he was like, "Wuhhhh?" I was like, "You know, it's not that you did it. If you'd been, like, 'C'mon, I really want to,' I would have been, like, 'Fine,' but the fact that I was like, 'Nah,' and then you just, blllpph, that's just rude." I actually had someone do that on accident once. For some reason, he just had a really huge reach. I mean, it was just, like, across the room, and he got me in the eye. I had plans with my sister that night to go to dinner, and I had to call her and make an excuse. I had this red spot on my eye for the rest of the night. I was fine the next day.

Since you're a cinephile, does it bother you if someone watches porn?
It depends on the porn. I'm fine if it's something interesting, like something old, something classic, stuff like Behind the Green Door. There's a lot of porn out there that's pretty feminist, or just politically down, in a way. Your average Cock Smokers 9 or whatever, to me, just seems boring. But if they liked Bruce LaBruce, or somebody interesting like that, then I would be intrigued.  

What about What Happens Between My Tits, Stays Between My Tits?
If it had a good enough title, you could almost make a case for it.  



Aaron, 37

What's your job?
I'm a musician, and I work at a nightclub. 

Do you meet a lot of women at the club? 
I do meet a lot of women, but typically when I meet them, they're very intoxicated. That's kind of a turn-off, honestly. 

What do women say to try to get in the door?
Half the time, it's kind of raunchy, and half the time it's more about batting eyes and just the fact that they're female. They try to get in for free. They compliment my eyes, or my jewelry, or my hair or something. 

Have you dated a lot of Austin women?
Yes. There are a lot of successful, beautiful women here. So for men, it's really great. I hear that women, on the other hand, have a hard time finding a decent guy. 

What's your type?
I've dated all shapes and sizes. I like blondes, I like brunettes. Dark eyes, light eyes. I like people who are into the arts.  

Do you ever date chicks in bands?
You know what? I haven't very much. 

Do you ever go out with groupies?
No. I don't like that. 

What's your band?
Active Radio.  

What's the purpose of having a band if you don't sleep with groupies?
For me, that's not the point.  

Why do you think girls like rock stars? 
I just think it's an image thing, really. I think they like the image of the guitar player, or the singer, or whatever on stage, and people kind of giving them all their attention. It's almost like a demigod. You're almost worshipped, in a way.  

Do you have any crazy exes?
I think I might be considered a crazy ex. I used to be really jealous and insecure. I've kind of moved past that. I think everybody's been crazy at one point or another in a relationship.  

Has a woman ever shocked you in bed?
Absolutely. Anal, usually, surprises me. I guess I'm kind of old-school and think girls don't like that, and then they'll ask for it, and I get kind of shocked. 

Do you oblige?
Absolutely. It's awesome. And it's taboo. It has to be the right butt. And after a shower, maybe. I had a girl that wanted to go down on my butt, and I wasn't too fond of that. I didn't even let her try. It doesn't sound good to me. I do that, but I don't want a girl doing that to me. 

What's the weirdest place you ever had sex?
In a car. While it was moving. I was driving. She sat on my lap as I was driving down the highway.  

I hope there wasn't a lot of traffic.
There wasn't. 

Did you come? 

Have you ever had a threesome?
The last time it happened, I was dating this girl, and she kind of plays both sides. She called me and said, "Come over to my friend's house. We're having a pillow fight." I think that was code for, "We want to have a threesome." So I came over, and they were drunk, and dancing around in their panties, and it just kind of happened. It was great.

Do you believe in "The One"?
I don't believe in a single one. I think there are several options, and it all has to do with timing, and where you are in your life. I don't believe in destiny or anything like that. I think in your lifetime, you'll probably encounter the quote-unquote one three or four times. 

Interviews and photography by Susannah Breslin. Want to talk to strangers in your neighborhood? Email